Apr 15 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: April 9–15, 2021

Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, Gabon, Germany, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Republic of the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, The Bahamas, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Visit Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • Canada: New pathways to permanent residence will be available for essential workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada and actively contributing to the Canadian economy.
  • Brexit: Authorities in France published further guidance on post-Brexit residence permits or residence registration options (‘Article 50 residence permits’) for current UK national residents and their non-EU national family members. Check this consolidated information page for more information.
  • Minimum salary requirements: Romania updated its minimum salary requirements. Check this consolidated information page for more details.



These items and other news from Bermuda, Bulgaria, European Union, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



Canada, April 15, 2021

New Pathways to Permanent Residence for In-Country Essential Workers and International Graduates

  • The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced new pathways to permanent residence for essential workers and international graduates who are currently in Canada and actively contributing to the Canadian economy.
  • Eligible applicants will be able to submit applications from May 6, 2021 through November 5, 2021 or until all spots are filled, for a maximum of 90,000 new permanent residents.
  • Also, additional permanent residency streams will be launched for French-speaking or bilingual applicants in May, under the same eligibility requirements. These will not be subject to a quota.
  • Eligible foreign nationals will have an additional route to transition to permanent residence in Canada.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Bermuda: New Immigration Option for Investors Introduced – According to the Bermuda Business Development Agency’s website, the government has introduced the Economic Investment Certificate (EIC), which allows foreign nationals who make a qualifying investment in Bermuda of at least USD 2.5 million (for at least five years) to reside and work in Bermuda for five years. Applicants should note that the work authorization is only applicable to the business they have invested in. Qualifying investments include buying real estate, purchasing Bermuda government bonds, contributing to Bermuda’s Sinking Fund or Trust Fund, donating to a Bermuda registered charity, making an equity investment in a Bermuda-based business, launching a new Bermuda-based business, or investing in a social or other venture approved by the government. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a clean criminal record. After five years of holding an EIC, foreign nationals can apply for an indefinite Residential Certificate, provided they have maintained their investment for at least five years and resided in Bermuda for at least 90 days per calendar year while on EIC status, among other criteria. Interested applicants should contact their immigration professional for more information, including information on work limitations in Bermuda, and case-specific advice.

Bulgaria: Start-Up Permit Forthcoming – ​A legislative change in Bulgaria will allow for the creation of a Start-Up Residence Permit for foreign nationals seeking to start a high-tech and/or innovative company in the country. The application process will require Ministry of Economy certification, a long-term D visa application and establishment of a Bulgarian company (requiring at least 50% ownership of shares and/or capital). A ministerial ordinance outlining the Ministry of Economy certification process and further changes to the Foreigners Act detailing document requirements are required before the permit type can be implemented.

European Union: Update on Mobility-Related Legislation – As an update, a new EU database called the Entry-Exit System - a system that would track entries and exits; information from travel documents; and fingerprints and photographs of all non-EU nationals staying in the Schengen area for less than 90 days - is now expected to be operational in the first half of 2022. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is now expected to be operational at the end of 2022 (mandatory only in 2023). Under ETIAS, visa-exempt nationals would be required to register online before travelling to the European Union, similar to the U.S. ESTA and Canadian eTA systems. A provisional agreement to upgrade the Visa Information System (the database storing Schengen visa applicants' information) was reached at the end of 2020. Upgrades to the Schengen Information System (an information sharing system for security and border management) will be fully operational at the end of 2021. The proposal to limit temporary border checks within the Schengen area is still undergoing legislative review, which could take several years.

Ireland: E-vetting Implemented for Naturalization Applications – The Irish government has introduced e-vetting for foreign nationals submitting naturalization certificates in order to accelerate processing times. Previously, foreign nationals underwent a vetting process in-person, which was both resource- and time-consuming. The e-vetting process is part of an overall strategy to digitize the naturalization process, which has already introduced e-tax clearance certificates and is likely to include online payments in the future.

Israel: Government Closures for Independence Day – Israeli government offices are closed on April 15 in recognition of Israel’s Independence Day. Work permits and visa applications will not be adjudicated on this day and consular posts abroad will also suspend their operations or conduct limited processing. In the days after the closure, visa applicants may experience processing and issuance delays; employers should take this into consideration when setting start dates.

New Zealand: New Work Visa Application System Forthcoming – New Zealand is expected to introduce a new Work Visa application system in the third or fourth quarter of 2021, replacing current temporary work visas (not including the Specific Purpose Work Visa category) with one Employer Assisted Work Visa. While current details of the new Visa program are scant, further information is expected to be released in April 2021. The new Work Visa process will involve three steps: Employer Accreditation; labour market testing; and the visa application. Initial Accreditation will be granted for one year, with subsequent renewals for up to 24 months. Employers may apply for either a Standard Accreditation (sponsorship of up to five foreign nationals) or a High-Volume Accreditation (sponsorship for six foreign nationals or more). Current work visas will remain valid until their expiry date if all employment conditions are met. Work to Residence visa holders are expected to continue to have access to residency under the Residence from Work visa. The Minister of Immigration is reviewing these changes and Fragomen will report as soon as an implementation date is announced.

United States/European Union: Apostille Processing Delay – U.S. citizens applying for European permits, which often require apostilled documents for immigration applications, are facing approximately 10-12-week delays and should account for this time in their upcoming travel plans. For example, in Austria, applications are delayed by approximately 12 weeks for applicants with documents originating in the United States.

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of March 31, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in August 2020 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in April 2020 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in November 2020 or earlier. DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM requests filed in October 2020 and H-1B requests filed in November 2020. The agency has been processing PERM redeterminations requested in February 2021 and H-1B redeterminations requested in March 2021. PERM center director reviews requested in February 2021 remain pending. These reports are available on the FLAG page.

 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.